Let communities lead: Thirteen AIDS Funding Collaborative grantees to know

“Too often, communities are treated by decision-makers as problems to be managed, instead of being recognized and supported as leaders. Communities are not in the way; they light the way to the end of AIDS.” ~ Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director, 2023 World AIDS Day Report

Around the world, 39 million people are living with HIV. Over the last 35 years, World AIDS Day on December 1st helps shine a light on the connections between the worldwide epidemic of HIV and Cuyahoga County where over 5,000 people are living with HIV.

Over the last 35 years, World AIDS Day on December 1st helps shine a light on the connections between the worldwide epidemic of HIV and Cuyahoga County where over 5,000 people are living with HIV.

HIV does not impact our communities equitably. Black and brown people, the LGBTQ+ community, youth, people who inject drugs, and sex workers face the highest rates of HIV. These key populations are more likely than other people to face more racism, discrimination, and stigma in various facets of their lives, including lack of access to safe, affordable, and equitable healthcare. These communities are also more likely to live in poverty, to face food and housing insecurity, to face health disparities, and to be subjected to violence and mass incarceration.

These compounding societal and economic factors result in higher rates of HIV transmission.

Cuyahoga is one of the most HIV-impacted communities in the country

Cuyahoga County is working hard to end the HIV epidemic by investing in community-led responses to reduce new infections, link people to care, and ensure the HIV safety net is strong, because we are one of the most heavily impacted localities in the United States. Communities play a critical role in connecting people with HIV prevention and care services and reaching key populations who are most affected by HIV.

Since the earliest days of HIV in the 1980’s, people living with or affected by HIV have demanded a seat at decision-making tables. This is not just the right thing to do, but also results in a more effective public health strategy. The HIV response is stronger when it is led by communities who are most heavily impacted.

The AFC is a public/private partnership designed to strengthen the community’s response to HIV/AIDS by providing coordination, leadership, advocacy, and funding in Cuyahoga County.

Community leaders are the heroes of the HIV response

Almost 30 years ago, the AIDS Funding Collaborative was founded in answer to a recommendation of the Citizen’s Committee on HIV/AIDS to develop a “method of allocating and distributing” local funding. The mission of the Citizen’s Committee was to “develop an action plan that will enhance advocacy, coordinate responses and increase visibility of HIV/AIDS issues in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.”

Today, the AFC awards grants in a variety of various categories, including annual responsive grants; small discretionary grants for sponsorships or short-term projects; grants by invitation that are targeted to urgent or unmet needs; and a category of mid-range grants called catalyst grants, designed to support innovative and intensive HIV-related efforts in specific neighborhoods and networks that face the highest rates of HIV.

The AFC awarded $434,000 for 2023. See below for highlights:

Responsive Grants

Discretionary Grants

Targeted Grants

Catalyst Grants

The AFC’s funding partners are: The Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County, The City of Cleveland, The Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga County, The George Gund Foundation and Mt. Sinai Health Foundation. The Center for Community Solutions is the fiscal home of the AFC. Learn more about our strategic priorities at www.aidsfundingcollaborative.org.

Let us end HIV together. Let Communities Lead!

We believe that every person living with HIV and every person at risk of HIV can be informed, empowered, and connected to the services and supports that they might need. Let us end HIV together. Let Communities Lead!